Kindergarten

Updates from the Digital Frontier

February 1, 2011

In the old world, children’s media – namely television – was usually something to be passively absorbed at home.  But today children are gaining access to media that encourages – no, requires – some interaction on their part. Couldn’t that interaction bring with it the potential for harnessing that media to enrich children’s learning in many promising ways, in and out of school?

Moving Beyond Fears of Standards

January 18, 2011

A new two-part podcast on the BAM Radio network doesn’t shy away from what has been a long-festering debate in early childhood circles about academic standards and whether they are appropriate for the teaching of young kids. Let’s hope it triggers more pragmatic discussions about how to implement the standards in ways that recognize how young children learn, instead of feeding yet more fears that standards will reinforce a drill-and-kill mentality.

Forty-two states and District of Columbia have now adopted the K-12 standards that came out of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. These standards, which cover language arts and mathematics, are essentially lists of what students should be expected to know or be able to do by the end of the school year.

Rae Pica, the podcast’s host, opens the debate by asking: “Will they do more harm than good?” Then comes the face-off.

In Ed Funding, Some States Much Worse Off Than Others

January 12, 2011

A storm that “left a broad – but far from uniform -- trail of wreckage.” That’s how Ed Week is describing the recession’s impact on education budgets last year. The words came in the release of the annual Quality Counts report yesterday, which grades each state on a variety of education policy and performance measures.

The Future of Promise Neighborhoods

January 10, 2011

Promise Neighborhoods, a competitive grant program, seeks to borrow many of the ideas from the Harlem Children’s Zone and apply them to high-poverty neighborhoods across the country. The HCZ has gained attention in recent years for its “pipeline” strategy to breaking the poverty cycle: Start kids in school early; give them extended days and ample social services, such as health care and truancy prevention, to support their development; and make sure they continue to receive this support until adulthood.

Podcast: The Future of Promise Neighborhoods

January 10, 2011
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By now, regular Early Ed Watch readers may have noticed our interest in Promise Neighborhoods, the competitive grant program that seeks to borrow many of the ideas from the Harlem Children’s Zone and apply them to high-poverty neighborhoods across the country. The HCZ has gained attention in recent years for its “pipeline” strategy to breaking the poverty cycle: Start kids in school early; give them extended days and ample social services, such as health care and truancy prevention, to support their development; and make sure they continue to receive this support until adulthood. In the fiscal year 2010 budget, Congress appropriated $10 million in “planning grants” to 21 grantees across the country.

2011 Hot Spots -- #6, Tax Reform

January 4, 2011

A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...

Will this be the year that policymakers make some true progress in reforming the tax code? President Obama has said that he wants to push for reform, and progressives and conservatives are saying they do too.

2011 Hot Spots -- #5, Striving Readers and Other Competitions

January 4, 2011

A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...

In the next few months, the U.S. Department of Education will officially open its Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy competition. States will be able to apply for awards worth up to $30 million.

2011 Hot Spots -- #4, Teacher Evaluation

January 4, 2011

A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...

Don’t expect the debates on teaching quality to end anytime soon. We suspect that data from test scores (a la the Los Angeles Times series of 2010) will continue to be used to determine a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.

2011 Hot Spots -- #3, Head Start Re-Competition

January 4, 2011

A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will issue final rules for “re-competition” this year. (Comments were due on December 21 after the department issued a proposal in the Federal Register.) The re-competition program – officially known as the Designation Renewal System – may require 25 percent of Head Start programs to re-apply for funding that, until now, was nearly guaranteed (with the exception of instances of real financial problems).

2011 Hot Spots -- #2, The Elementary and Secondary Education Act

January 4, 2011

A continuation of our predictions of big issues for 2011...

Each year we ask the same question: Will Congress reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, aka No Child Left Behind? And each year, hopes have been dashed. There’s plenty of room for doubt this year too, but it’s not inconceivable.

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